This article will provide some guidelines for hiring an attorney to represent you in a DUI case. The most important thing you can do when talking to a DUI defense attorney is to ask questions. Don’t let your embarrassment or the lawyers’ attitude stop you from doing so. Asking questions is important for two reasons. First, you cannot make an informed decision about who will represent you without fully understanding what you are facing and how that person might approach your case. Second, whether a lawyer is willing to patiently answer all of your questions can tell you a lot about this person. If he (or she) doesn’t answer your questions before you hire him, he probably won’t when he already has your money and you’re standing in court. The risks of imprisonment, license suspension, and potential criminal record are so high that you cannot make decisions without understanding why you are doing so.
You should beware of any attorney who makes guarantees for you to hire them. For example, if he tells you that if you hire him, he will get over the case or he can secure a certain objection agreement. The criminal justice system is made up of people – police officers, prosecutors, judges, etc. Therefore, it can be, and usually is, unpredictable and no outcome can be guaranteed in advance. An experienced DUI defense attorney will tell you the most likely outcomes if you make certain choices such as entering into a plea agreement or going to trial.
You should be concerned if the attorney only tells you what to do with your case. For example, it tells you that you must plead guilty or participate in a certain program. A DUI attorney should use his or her experience and training to give you the best advice in the circumstances of your case (these circumstances may include not only the facts of your case but other factors such as the judge to whom you are assigned). However, it should also tell you that all of your options are not just one that is recommended. At the end of the day, the lawyer will come home no matter what. You are the one whose freedom is at stake, and therefore, you must be the one who makes the final decision based on all of your choices. To be clear, I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t listen closely to the opinion of an experienced DUI attorney, but that you should be aware of all your options before deciding which course to take.
You should question any attorney closely regarding their experience. Does he advocate for DUI issues full time? If not, what percentage of DUI cases does he have and how many cases does he handle? Equally important, what geographies does he have experience in? For example, each county in Pennsylvania has its own rules and regulations. Moreover, each judge has his own way of doing things. If the attorney is not familiar with the judges and the rules in the area in which you are charged, you will be the one to suffer the consequences of this inexperience.
A DUI attorney should be willing to tell you in advance what their fees will be under all circumstances. For example, how much will the fee be if you plead guilty? If you need to submit applications and/or initiate a trial? He should also be willing to give you a written fee agreement at the time of his appointment. This will protect you while the case progresses through the system. Nothing will undermine the attorney-client relationship faster than you feel like your attorney is stealing from you. I should note that while most DUI defense attorneys work on a fee-per-case basis (which means they can tell you in advance the cost of a petition or trial) a few hourly bills. If you choose to hire an attorney to do this, make sure he or she will keep you posted on the cost regularly. This way you won’t be surprised by a huge legal bill when the case is over.
Finally, beware of high-pressure selling tactics (yes, just like when buying a car). If your DUI attorney tells you you have to pay now or you lose the opportunity to be hired, you should be concerned. Who will represent your legal rights is a very important decision. You should have the opportunity to speak with several attorneys if necessary until you feel comfortable with your choice. You must have complete confidence in the person you are hiring to fight for your rights.
In conclusion, the five things you should keep in mind when hiring a DUI attorney are; 1) Beware of warranties; 2) the attorney must advise you not to order you; 3) The attorney must be experienced in DUI defense and the geographical area in which you have been charged; 4) The attorney must be willing to give you a written fee agreement; 5) Don’t be pressured into high selling tactics. We hope this information will help you find the right DUI attorney for you.